Land levy ‘threat’ to farmers lifted

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Union chiefs have welcomed a decision by Leeds City Council not to take up levy proposals which they claim would have made it “virtually impossible” for local farmers to develop their farms.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said the decision followed lobbying by its north east team after it emerged farm development was likely to be affected by plans to introduce the Government’s new Community Infrastructure Levy, which is designed to raise funds for local authorities where sizeable residential or commercial development results in them having to invest for example in local road infrastructures.

The farmers’ union said most local authorities chose to exclude agricultural development from the levy but Leeds City Council had proposed to charge £5 per square metre – which equates to £2,500 for a 500 square foot barn.

James Copeland, regional environment and land use advisor, said: “Having to pay this levy would effectively have made most farm-scale development uneconomic.”